Scheifele scores twice, adds assist to power Jets to beat Senators
After a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, it’s easy to see why the Winnipeg Jets are one of the best teams in the Western Conference.
The Jets (30-16-1) entered the game after losing the first two games of their five-game road trip and it was clear from the start that they had no intention of losing a third.
Winnipeg’s forecheck was impressive and Ottawa was unresponsive.
Nikolaj Ehlers and Cole Perfetti also scored for Winnipeg, while Connor Hellebuyck stopped 25 shots.
Ehlers, who missed 36 games with an abdominal injury, now has 12 points (4G, 8A) in his past nine games since returning to the lineup.
“He’s a fantastic player for us and he played great for us tonight,” said Scheifele. “We need him with his ‘A’ match to win. He was fantastic again tonight and only a few more games before he comes back.”
WATCH l Jets blow past Senators 5-1:
Josh Norris scored the lone goal for the Senators (20-23-3), who continue to struggle defensively. Anton Forsberg made 25 saves.
If body language is any indication, frustration is at an all-time high among players right now. Thomas Chabot was asked how the mood is and he was blunt.
“It’s not good,” said Chabot. “No one is happy right now, but I mean it’s hockey and they were the better team tonight and that’s it.”
The Senators lost 4-1 to Pittsburgh on Friday, while the Jets waited for them in Ottawa.
Ottawa is now 2-6-0 in the last eight and seems to be heading in the wrong direction.
Not surprisingly, Senator head coach DJ Smith said changes will be made.
“We’re going to shake up the top nine,” said Smith. “I mean there are guys who are minus every night and it just can’t go on. That’s on me because I allow them to keep playing together or certain guys to play together and if you get scored it doesn’t work so we’re going to work on every line and we’re going to grind our way out of this.”
Ottawa showed an indiscipline taking eight small penalties and were lucky that the Jets only capitalized once with the man advantage, but they were just as dangerous at full strength.
“Obviously we haven’t had that in a while, the last few games,” said Jets head coach Rick Bowness. “We talked about it before the game: ‘We need a great goal from our attackers here.’ And then [Wheeler] goes to the net [Ehlers] put it near there, and [Wheeler] gets its screws in. We haven’t had those in a while. Sometimes you need one of those to go 5-on-5.”
Leading 3-1 to start the third, the Jets appeared to be in complete control as Ottawa looked uninspired for a long time.
Scheifele takes the lead
Despite a packed house, Senators fans had little to cheer for and headed for the exit when Scheifele scored his second of the game with just under four minutes remaining.
Perfetti’s goal late in the period that put the Jets up 5–1 did not affect play, but was memorable for Wheeler, as an assist gave him 900 career points.
Winnipeg scored twice in the second and dominated the game for much of the period.
The Jets opened the scoring six minutes into the period on the power play when Ehlers took a feed from Josh Morrissey and tapped it in for his fourth of the season.
Ottawa equalized midway through the period, with Claude Giroux winning the throw-in into the strike zone and feeding Norris, who shot it once past Hellebuyck, who didn’t look ready for the shot.
With the assist, Giroux recorded 40 points for the 14th consecutive season.
Giroux reached 40 points for the 14th consecutive season.